Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 208

Thu, 26 Dec 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2013 14:49:06 -0500
Re: [Avodah] for the record

On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 01:52:52PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
> The question is whether there is -- or ever was -- any inherent issur in
> it, or whether the "gezera" was always purely consequential: doing so
> will have bad consequences, so it's assur, but if circumstances change
> and it will not have those consequences then it becomes muttar.

I think Zev's implied statement that (for at least a sizable percentage
of those who prohibited, if not all) there never was an inherent issur
is what underlies the answer I posted just before him.

According to RYSE (as quoted in Avnei Yashfei 1:153) it is mutar to
enter a masjid (that's "mosque" for those who prefer the French mangling
of the Italian distortion of the original). The Tzitz Eliezer (14:91)
cites the Ran (Sanhedrin 61b) that any religion other than Yahadus is AZ,
and therefore the TE doesn't allow entering a masjid.

Would the TE allow entering a C-nagogue, or would he say there is actually
an inherent issur? Well, Islam may be different because the Ran singles
out the veneration of Muhammad. OTOH, C may be different because the 7MBN
are less demanding.

In any case, I already summarized the pesaqim I know of from the field
(primarily from working with kiruv kollelim) as being used halakhah

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             What we do for ourselves dies with us.
mi...@aishdas.org        What we do for others and the world,
http://www.aishdas.org   remains and is immortal.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Albert Pine

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Message: 2
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2013 15:55:55 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Non-Shabbos Greetings

From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>

Is the  halachik definition/pratei dinim of Shabbat the only definition? 
I mean, is  there no cultural aspect to it? I've heard Arab Israelis say 
it to each  other. Of course in halachic terms the phrase is meaningless 
for them (even  if one looks at the world in eyes other Brisker eyes), 
but is that all there  is?


On 12/22/2013 12:41 AM, Micha Berger wrote:
> I was  about to lightly reply in kind, and then wondered -- is
> it appropriate?  Given that it's assur for this woman to actually
> celebrate Shabbos,  should I be wishing her a good one? I mean, I doubt
> it's technically  *assur*, but in terms of the statement of sharing
> something that is  inherently not for  sharing.


I spent three weeks with my mother a'h in the hospital in J-m, where the  
Arabs who were working there on Shabbos routinely said, "Shabbat Shalom.'   I 
replied in kind and never gave it a moment's thought.  It was Shabbos and  
they were working, after all!  So obviously they weren't keeping  Shabbos.  
I do not believe there is any problem whatsoever.  Non-Jews  are not allowed 
to keep Shabbos in all its details but they are allowed to feel  inwardly 
peaceful on Shabbos (or any other day of the week).  And BTW if  you are 
allowed to give a non-Jew medical treatment on Shabbos for darkei shalom  surely 
you are allowed to wish him shalom for darkei shalom?
--Toby Katz


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Message: 3
From: David Riceman <drice...@optimum.net>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2013 15:33:23 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Dairy Orange Juice


<<we may be lenient in cases of doubt. [the doubt is that the machine 
perhaps was not used that day and is therefore not tainted by dairy 

Why not taste it and find out?

David Riceman

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2013 17:28:28 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Dairy Orange Juice

On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 08:35:56PM +1100, Rabbi Meir G. Rabi, its Kosher! wrote:
: Rabbi Binyomin Forst, page 243 of 'The Laws of Kashrus' ArtScroll Halacha
: Series... He explains in the footnote, "It seems reasonable [to assume] that the
: machinery was used for milk production within the previous 24 hours...

When do we use our own esimate of probability, and when do we hold by
the general stam keilim einum ben yoman?

This question came up in v26n242 WRT production lines, v28n212 and
restaurant cookware, back in 2002 v9n88 (also restaurant kitchens), even
last millennium... But I do not recall reaching some kind of resolution.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
mi...@aishdas.org        excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org   'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (270) 514-1507      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Message: 5
From: "Rabbi Meir G. Rabi" <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2013 10:31:01 +1100
[Avodah] Not every yerei Shamayim is a good sofer

We are asked to - consider two sofrim, one who appears to be a great yerei
shomayim, whilst the other appears to be a kal.
And we are told - There can be no question, we must go with the yerei
shomayim .......

The only thing there is no question about, is that we are guilty of finding
people, and attempting to drive religion, towards those who suit our own
preferences, our own internal image of what is a YShamayim.

What a great way to run a community, APPEARANCES of YShamayim is the guide,
as long as they walk the walk and talk the talk. Never mind the Halacha.
Reb Zev, in a candid MaSiaCh LeFi Tumo, is quoted to say, one who APPEARS
to be a great YShamayim  whilst the other APPEARS to be a Kal.

We can be sure that HKBH is delighted.  Fits the old guideline, It may be
good enough for HKBH, but it is not good enough for me, and therefore the
YShamayim will not eat the Fleisch.

One thing we can be sure of - the YShamayim who disqualifies too many of
his own Mezuzos, or too many of his own Shechted birds or beasts cannot
remain in a viable business, and in fact the more one pushes the YShamayim
and Chumros, the more difficult it is to run it as a viable business and
the more likely it is that some compromise will be made, being of course
rationalised by the thought - It's only a Chumrah anyway. And that, my
friends, is the beginning of the end.
It begins with HaKol Shochtim - even a Kussi - but has progressed to
today's standard, no-one is good enough to Shecht for me.

We seem to be confusing OC, obsessive complulsive; with FoG, Fear of Gd.

The debate, as always, devolves to - What is it that HKBH wants us to do?
Is He happy with ChezKas Kashrus? Well, yes .... but not really, according
to the YShamayim club/cult members.

And what better way to put the boot in than the classic - even if the
customer never finds out in this life, Hashem will know, and the customer
will find out when he comes to the Next life. Ah yes, the Boogey man will
get you.
And they lived happily ever after.
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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2013 15:49:02 -0500
[Avodah] Re: Rashbam and Peshat

See R' Francis Nataf's article on Torah Musings at
<http://torahmusings.com/2013/12/one-step-forward-two-steps-back> on
.he state of contemporary O parshanut. Intentionally picking on line
as a teaser because it is controversial:
    While the new approaches are felt as a breath of fresh air in
    some circles, they have not been universally welcome. One reason
    is these approaches' tendency to discount Talmudic and Midrashic
    interpretations. Of course, disagreement with rabbinic interpretation
    is as old as the interpretive endeavor itself.1 What is new is the
    place of rabbinic interpretation in the endeavor.

In a reply in the comment chain on this post, RFN touches our discussion
of whether Rashi thought his digressions into medrashim went beyond

    I am honored by the response of my esteemed colleague Rabbi Josh
    Berman and will only be able to partially address the important
    points that he raises.

    I am a student of Nechama Leibowitz who shed a different light on
    rabbinic exegesis than that which Rabbi Berman propounds. Primarily
    via the position that Rashi was also a pashtan (if radically different
    from the more obvious pashtanim cited), she showed us that much of
    what has been dismissed as "mere midrash" (before midrash came back
    into style) was actually a careful literary analysis, ultimately not
    so divorced from what exponents of the new school (and I as well)
    are doing today. Hence, I would suggest that the division of the
    pashtanim and midrashists is actually a continuum of one interpretive
    community and not two as Rabbi Berman seems to suggest.

    Moreover, I believe that the writers that he cites are constantly
    interacting with the words of Chazal, even as they often reject
    them. Abarbanel, for one, almost always brings rabbinic opinions,
    and my quote from Ibn Ezra in footnote 1, I believe, speaks much more
    eloquently than I could ever do about how the classical pahstanim
    position themselves vis-a-vis rabbinic interpretation.

    As to the issue of exegesis as being reactive to a zeitgeist, Rabbi
    Berman is certainly correct that there is a great deal of polemics in
    classic commentators that are consciously or unconsciously responding
    to other ideologies or foreign modes of interpretation. And it
    is beyond a shadow of a doubt that there will always be many Jews
    who have a need for such polemics to feel better about their own
    tradition. Nonetheless, polemics is a dangerous game that often has
    to be played with the ground rules of one's opponents and that is
    part of my point.

    Although I admire Rabbi Berman's own work, I question whether working
    within the Enlightenment assumptions that he mentions will ultimately
    have the day. Orthodox Jews who have worked within academic Bible
    study such as Hoffman and Cassutto ultimately had very little
    influence on the field.

    In my opinion, much more powerful is to show cogently and coherently
    why we disagree with these assumptions and then to continue to
    interpret the text on our own terms.

    Luckily, we will not be the only ones today questioning Enlightenment
    assumptions (I mentioned MacIntyre who does so very powerfully.) But
    even if we were, I humbly submit that doing so is the key to
    reasserting ourselves as a self-confident and truly productive
    culture once again.

Tir'u baTov!

Cc: RAF, RnSP (author of a seifer on how to learn medrash)

Micha Berger             You cannot propel yourself forward
mi...@aishdas.org        by patting yourself on the back.
http://www.aishdas.org                   -Anonymous
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2013 16:02:49 -0500
Re: [Avodah] a couple other updates on the "lifting the


On Sat, 21 Dec 2013 20:27:05 +0200, R' Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il> wrote:
: a couple other updates on the "lifting the circuit breaker" episode.

The general topic (not this episode) was also discussed in Machon Zomet's
Shabbat beShaabato. See attached article.

Tir'u baTov!

Responsa For Our Times
Electric Appliances on Shabbat / Rabbi Re'eim Hacohen
Rosh Yeshiva and Chief Rabbi, Otniel 

(1) On Shabbat, is one allowed to move an electric light from one place
to another or to move a heat source (such as a radiator or an electric
(2) If the electricity stops on Shabbat, is one allowed to remove the
wire of an emergency backup light from the wall socket and move it around
from place to place?


The Prohibition to Move a Lamp that is Lit

It is written, "A new lamp can be handled, but not one that is old.
Rabbi Shimon says, all the lamps can be handled except for a lamp that
is on during Shabbat." [Mishna Shabbat 3:6]. That is, everybody agrees
that a lamp that is lit may not be moved on Shabbat. The conclusion of
a discussion in the Talmud, as summarized by Rava, is that such a lamp
is "a basis for a prohibited object" [Shabbat 47a]. Rashi explains
that the prohibition does not stem from a fear that the flame will
be extinguished but from the laws of "muktzeh" (objects which are not
handled on Shabbat). Since the flame is muktzeh, then the lamp cannot
be moved either.

Why is a flame in a lamp muktzeh? The Chazon Ish gives two reasons:
(1) A lamp is usually not moved around, to avoid putting out the flame;
and in addition (2) the normal way of using a lamp is to leave it
in one place, and therefore it may not be moved because of the laws
of muktzeh. In Minchat Shlomo, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach rejected
the second of these two reasons since the prohibition of handling a
lamp also applies to a torch that has a lamp inside, even though the
normal way to use it is to move it from place to place (Shulchan Aruch
279:9). With respect to the first reason given by the Chazon Ish, Rabbi
Auerbach emphasized that the prohibition does not stem from a fear of
violating the prohibition of extinguishing a flame but is based on the
fact that even on a weekday a lamp is not moved around out of fear of
putting out the light. Rabbi Shlomo explains the reason that a flame
is considered muktzeh in a different way. Since it changes all the
time and has no physical substance, it is not considered a real object,
and it therefore may not be moved. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein permits moving
an electric blanket since only a flame is muktzeh because it is not an
object, but electrical appliances are physical objects, and they may be
moved if there is a need for them or for the place where they are resting
(Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 3:50).

Handling an Electric Light

At first glance, the two above considerations (a fear of extinguishing
a flame and the fact that the flame is not a physical object) would not
seem to apply to an electric device (since moving it around does not
disturb it and it is physically real). However, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef only
permits moving a fan that is working on Shabbat and forbids moving any
other electrical equipment (Yalkut Yosef 308). This is because he does
not accept the reasoning of the Chazon Ish, who specifically linked the
prohibition to the existence of a flame. And Rabbi Yosef feels that the
words of Rabbi Auerbach were not a final halachic ruling. However, in
Shulchan Shlomo there is testimony that this was indeed Rabbi Auerbach's
opinion in practice, and that "he did not see any reason to forbid it"
[207, 299].

Rav A.Y. Kook gives another reason to allow moving electrical appliances
that are connected to the power line. He writes that the reason
for the original decree of muktzeh was a fear that the item would
be moved outside, but this is not relevant for an appliance that is
plugged in (Orach Mishpat 47). Since the opinions of the Chazon Ish,
Rabbi Shlomo Auerbach, and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein are definitive, and
since the discussion is about muktzeh, which is a rabbinical decree, we
can allow moving an electrical appliance of a type that is meant to be
mobile. In addition, there is another reason to be lenient with respect
to emergency lights (even according to the opinion of Rabbi Yosef),
since they do not produce light from a filament (which uses a large
amount of energy) but from a fluorescent bulb or from LED's. This type
of light is similar to the light produced by a chemical stick-light,
with almost no heat. (Note that Rabbi Yosef agrees that there is no
problem with the electric current itself, as can be seen from the fact
that he allows a fan to be moved while it is turned on.)

Disconnecting an Emergency Light when there is no Current

The common emergency lights work in such a way that they are usually
plugged in, and if the current stops the light goes on automatically. As
long as the current is on, it is clearly prohibited to pull the wire
out of the plug. In the Talmud, there is a prohibition to move a lamp
that was on during the time of twilight Friday night, since "once it has
become muktzeh during twilight it remains muktzeh for the entire day"
[Beitza 30b]. This was accepted as the halacha by the Shulchan Aruch
(279). It implies that an emergency light cannot be unplugged when the
electricity goes off, since at twilight the evening before the electricity
was on as usual, and the light was muktzeh then.

However, in my humble opinion unplugging during an electricity stoppage
is allowed. A person naturally has in mind that if the electricity
stops he will carry the light around with him, and this was his way of
thinking during twilight too. In this way, an emergency light differs
from a regular lamp which was on during twilight and stopped burning
on Shabbat. And even according to the rabbis who do not allow making an
explicit condition about muktzeh (see RAMA 279:1 according to "others")
-- in this case we are not discussing a condition, rather the main reason
for having an emergency light, to be able to use it if the electricity
stops. And this was the main intention during the time of twilight. I
discussed this matter with Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal, and he agreed to my
reasoning and declared that he would publish his opinion.


An electric lamp and electric heating appliances may be moved from
place to place on Shabbat. In addition, if the electricity stops one can
unplug an emergency light and carry it around. (This is an abstract from
"Responsa Badei Aharon," which G-d gave me the privilege of publishing

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Message: 8
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2013 13:14:16 -0500
[Avodah] Jewish Education

The following is from page 591 of Rabbi Chaim Dov Rabinowitz's The 
History of the Jewish People Volume I,  page 591.

Whenever emphasis is placed on the elitist form of education,
the other kind intended for the common masses suffers. Apparently,
two sorts of educators are required, each type geared to the needs of
these two categories of students. One educator should devote his
energies to stimulate and encourage those who show promise of
greatness and make efforts to activate their minds; and the other
type should strengthen those who are weak and in need of
bolstering. However, it's impossible to know in advance from which
group the sages of tomorrow will come, and at times it would simply
be best to give up hope of attaining success in both methods of

Question:  Which form of education do we see today in most yeshivos? YL
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Message: 9
From: Liron Kopinsky <liron.kopin...@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2013 09:44:30 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Sledding on Shabbat

On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 4:47 PM, David Riceman <drice...@optimum.net> wrote:
> RLK:
>> I'm looking online at the permissibility of sledding on Shabbat and I
>> see one of two things: 1) "There is no problem with that" 2) "Athletic
>> activities, bicycle riding, tennis, ball playing, swimming, skating and
>> sledding are forbidden.

> I don't think you can lump all these things together.  Ball playing, for
> example, is a mahlokes between the Mehaber and the Rama (OH 308:45).
> Swimming has a number of special issues (e.g. sehitah) which can lead
> reasonable people to be stringent.  Bicycle riding has led the Tzitz
> Eliezer to enact a new gezeirah (much to my astonishment).

I agree, but search online for "sledding on shabbat" and you'll see that
grouping all over the place.

Liron Kopinsky

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Message: 10
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2013 05:45:00 -0500
[Avodah] Equating Eating Chazir with Studying Secular

Last night I was at a chasanah.  Before the chupah I was talking with 
a fellow who is in his early forties.  He attended a well-known 
yeshiva in Brooklyn.  He told me that he did not send his son to this 
yeshiva.  "I will tell you a story that will explain why I did not 
send my son to Yeshiva -----."

"It used to be that on days like Thanksgiving,  Xmas,  etc.  yeshiva 
ended early.  There were 4 or 5 days a year when this happened.  On 
these days we would go to a park and play ball.  The reason we were 
off was because the English teachers taught in public school before 
coming to teach in the yeshiva.  Since they were off from public 
school on these days, they did not want to come to teach secular 
subjects on these days.

"One year Yeshiva -----  decided that instead of giving us off on 
these days,  we would have more learning.  We boys were 
upset,  because we enjoyed the time off on these few days. The 
Menahel of the yeshiva came in when this was first announced and said 
he would explain why we would now be learning in the afternoons on 
these days.  He said, 'The reason we have secular subjects is because 
the government requires this.  Now suppose someone held a gun to your 
head everyday from 11 to 11:30 and said he would shoot you if you did 
not eat Chazir at this time.  You would, of course, be forced to eat 
it.  However,  if he did not show up one day,  would you eat Chazir 
on that day?  Of course not! The same is true for secular 
studies.  Since we are not required to have them on these days,  we 
are having learning instead.'"

The fellow then went on to say, "How could this Menahel equate 
studying secular subjects with eating Chazir? The result was that 
most of the boys considered studying secular subjects a joke and a 
waste of time. Based on this I could not send my son to Yeshiva ----."

Keep in mind that this happened when the fellow who told me this was 
in 10th grade and today he is 43.  Yet it still bothers him.

Indeed,  how could the Menahel make this analogy? There is no 
question that Limudei Kodesh is more important than Limudei 
Chol,  but this analogy shows IMO that this Menahel lacked balance 
and a sensible approach to the world.

Too bad this Menahel obviously never read RSRH's essay  The Relevance 
of Secular Studies to Jewish Education which you can read at


Have some in the Orthodox community lost their minds?  Where is 
balance and normalcy?   YL

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Message: 11
From: Samuel Svarc <ssv...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2013 17:17:59 -0500
Re: [Avodah] mitzvat[?] simcha

He ends off his post with, "We don't pasken from modern song lyrics. Don't
believe everything you hear. If someone would show you this supposed
mitzvah in the Sefer Hachinuch, that would be one thing. But if you can't
find it there, that tells you that something is wrong. Buyer beware"

Well, as it happens the Sefer Hachinuch explicitly talks about the need for
simcha (and no, unlike our Litvak, he doesn't refer to simchah shel mitzvah
but rather to simcha being a need like food). Mitzvah 488 (standard
editions). "...l'fi sh'hodom nochon al inyan shtzorich tivoh lismoach
lpirokim kmo sh'hu tzorich al hamozon al kol ponim v'al hamnucho v'al

Now, what constitutes simcha is different for for different people.
Everyone knows that Tisha Bav is a Litvak's favorite moed...


On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 4:58 PM, saul newman <saulnewma...@gmail.com> wrote:

> http://mrlitvak.blogspot.co.il/2013/10/guess-what-rama-
> was-not-breslover.html
> interesting that a local [chassidic] rov  was asked by a visitor , why the
>   chassidishe kollel  seems to have   people therein learning from many
> different  eidos-across the board- but the litvishe one , is purely
> litvaks....  his one word asnwer was 'simcha'....
> _______________________________________________
> Avodah mailing list
> Avo...@lists.aishdas.org
> http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org
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Message: 12
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2013 17:43:36 -0500
[Avodah] When and When not to Recite Tachnun

 From http://tinyurl.com/jwm6vrb

There are some opinions in the  poskim who maintain  that a  chosson 
should not come to  shul all seven days of  sheva berochos in order 
not to exempt those
davening from  saying  tachnun.

See the above URL for more on the topic of Tachanun.  YL

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Message: 13
From: "M Cohen" <mco...@touchlogic.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2013 20:11:02 -0500
[Avodah] rabainu Gershon

A TC mentioned to me that its known that one of rabainu gershon's wives
tried to kill him

(I had never heard this before)

Can anyone point to information/sources on this subject?


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